Generic Name: methylphenidate (meth-il-FEN-i-date)
Give cautiously to patients with a history of drug dependence or alcoholism. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence with varying degrees of abnormal behavior. Frank psychotic episodes can occur, especially with parenteral abuse. Careful supervision is required during drug withdrawal from abusive use since severe depression may occur. Withdrawal following chronic therapeutic use may unmask symptoms of the underlying disorder that may require follow-up .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 24, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Patch, Extended Release
Therapeutic Class: CNS Stimulant
Chemical Class: Amphetamine Related
Uses for methylphenidate
Methylphenidate transdermal is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It belongs to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants.
Methylphenidate transdermal works by increasing attention and decreasing restlessness in children and adults who are overactive, cannot concentrate for very long, or are easily distracted and impulsive. Methylphenidate is used as part of a treatment program that also includes social, educational, and psychological treatment.
Methylphenidate is available only with a doctor's prescription.
Before using methylphenidate
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For methylphenidate, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to methylphenidate or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of methylphenidate transdermal in the pediatric population. However, use is not recommended in children younger than 6 years. Safety and efficacy have not been established in this age group.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of methylphenidate transdermal have not been performed in geriatric patients.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking methylphenidate, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using methylphenidate with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Methylene Blue
Using methylphenidate with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Iobenguane I 131
Using methylphenidate with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using methylphenidate with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use methylphenidate, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of methylphenidate. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcohol abuse, history of or
- Drug abuse or dependence, history of—Dependence may be more likely to develop.
- Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), or a family history of or
- Blood vessel problems (eg, peripheral vasculopathy) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Priapism (painful or prolonged erection of the penis) or
- Psychosis (mental illness), history of or
- Raynaud phenomenon or
- Seizures, history of or
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Coronary artery disease or
- Depression, or a family history of or
- Heart attack, recent or
- Heart disease (eg, cardiomyopathy) or
- Heart failure or
- Heart rhythm problems, or a family history of or
- Stroke, history of or
- Vitiligo (skin disease), or family history of—Use with caution. May make side effects become worse.
Proper use of methylphenidate
Use methylphenidate only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Methylphenidate should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
To use the skin patch:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying a patch. Do not touch your eyes until after you have washed your hands.
- Remove the patch from the protective pouch and apply it to the skin 2 hours before the desired effect.
- Do not cut it into smaller pieces and do not touch the sticky surface of the patch.
- Apply the patch to clean, dry skin on your hip. Choose an area with little or no hair that is free of scars, cuts, or irritation. Avoid putting the patch where it could be rubbed off by tight clothing (eg, waistline).
- A different place on either hip should be used each day.
- Press the patch firmly in place with the palm of your hand for about 30 seconds. Make sure there is good contact with your skin, especially around the edges of the patch.
- Do not place any medicine, cream, or lotion on the skin at the application site before applying the patch.
- Do not use tape, coverings, or adhesives with the patch.
- The patch should stay in place when you are showering, bathing, or swimming, but it may not stick as well after being exposed to water.
- If the patch falls off or is not sticking to the skin, apply a new one. The total amount of time you wear a patch each day, even if a second one is used, should not be longer than the amount of time your doctor ordered.
- Remove the patch 9 hours after it was applied or sooner if directed by your doctor.
The dose of methylphenidate will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of methylphenidate. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For transdermal dosage form (skin patch):
- For attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
- Adults and children 6 years and older—One patch applied to the hip 2 hours before the desired effect.
- Children younger than 6 years—Use is not recommended.
- For attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply a new patch and skip the one you missed. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Store the patches at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Do not store unopened or unused patches in the refrigerator or freezer. Make sure you store the medicine in a safe and secure place to prevent others from getting it. Get rid of used patches as directed so that children or pets cannot get to them. There is still enough medicine in a used patch to make a child or pet very sick.
To dispose of methylphenidate, fold the patch in half with the sticky side inside. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If the patch has not been used, take it out of the pouch and remove the liner that covers the sticky side of the patch before folding it in half. Do not flush the pouch or the protective liner down the toilet. Put them in a trash can with a cover. Drop off any unused folded patches at a drug take-back location right away. If you do not have a drug take-back location near you, flush any folded patches down the toilet. Check your local drug store and clinics for take-back locations. You can also check the DEA web site for locations. Here is the link to the FDA safe disposal of medicines website: www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/ensuringsafeuseofmedicine/safedisposalofmedicines/ucm186187.htm
Precautions while using methylphenidate
Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits to make sure methylphenidate is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You will need to have your blood pressure measured before starting methylphenidate and while you are using it. If you notice any change to your recommended blood pressure, call your doctor right away.
You should not use methylphenidate if you used a medicine for depression called an MAO inhibitor (MAOI), such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®, within the past 14 days.
Methylphenidate may cause serious heart or blood vessel problems. This may be more likely in patients who have a family history of heart disease. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain, trouble breathing, or fainting while using methylphenidate.
If you have any redness, itching, swelling, or blistering where the patch has been, call your doctor right away.
Tell your doctor right away if you notice any unusual changes in behavior, such as an increase in aggression, hostility, agitation, irritability, or suicidal thinking or behaviors. Check with your doctor if you have hallucinations or any unusual thoughts, especially if they are new or getting worse quickly.
Methylphenidate may cause a condition called Raynaud phenomenon. Check with your doctor right away if you have tingling or pain in the fingers or toes when exposed to cold, paleness or a cold feeling in the fingertips and toes, or a skin color change of your fingers while using methylphenidate.
Methylphenidate may cause slow growth. If your child is using methylphenidate, the doctor will need to keep track of your child's height and weight.
If you have a prolonged or painful erection of the penis for more than 4 hours, check with your doctor right away.
Using methylphenidate may cause loss of skin color where the patch is applied or on other areas of the skin. This usually occurs more often if you have a personal or family history of vitiligo. Call your doctor right away if you notice changes in skin color while using methylphenidate.
Methylphenidate may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or changes in vision. Do not drive a car, ride a bicycle, operate machinery, or do other things that might be dangerous until you know how methylphenidate affects you.
Avoid putting methylphenidate near external sources of direct heat, such as hair dyers, heating pads, electric blankets, heated water beds, or hot tubs.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements, and medicine for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hayfever, or sinus problems.
Methylphenidate side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Aggressive and violent behavior
- arm, back, or jaw pain
- black, tarry stools
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine
- bloody nose
- chest pain or discomfort
- chest tightness or heaviness
- cough or hoarseness
- cracks in the skin
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- flu-like symptoms
- heavier menstrual periods
- joint or muscle pain
- loss of heat from the body
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- quick to react or overreact emotionally
- rapidly changing moods
- red, irritated eyes
- red, swollen skin
- scaly skin
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- severe or sudden headache
- skin rash or itching
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- sudden loss of coordination
- sudden slurring of speech
- twitching, twisting, or uncontrolled repetitive movements of the tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- difficulty with breathing
- high fever
- increased sweating
- loss of bladder control
- severe muscle stiffness
- uncontrolled vocal outbursts or tics (uncontrolled repeated body movements)
- unusually pale skin
Incidence not known
- Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin
- chest pain
- difficulty with swallowing
- hives, itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- paleness or cold feeling in the fingertips and toes
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- swollen glands
- tingling or pain in the fingers or toes when exposed to cold
- troubled breathing with exertion
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- decreased weight
- difficulty with moving
- loss of appetite
- muscle pain or stiffness
- redness of the skin
- trouble sleeping
- Decreased appetite
- stuffy or runny nose
- weight loss
Incidence not known
- Bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye)
- bleeding, bruising, burning, itching, redness, skin rash, swelling, or soreness at the application site
- blurred or loss of vision
- disturbed color perception
- double vision
- hair loss
- halos around lights
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
- night blindness
- overbright appearance of lights
- thinning of the hair
- tunnel vision
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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More about methylphenidate
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- 870 Reviews
- Drug class: CNS stimulants
- FDA Alerts (3)
- Patient Information
- Methylphenidate transdermal
- Methylphenidate Oral, Transdermal (Advanced Reading)
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